15,000 Celebrate Rioja at Tapas Fantasticas

Tapas 2

Tapas 1 Ever wonder how other countries enjoy Rioja? On July 14-15, Tapas Fantasticas, London's award winning celebration of Rioja wine and Spanish food, was held in Potters Park Field on the South Bank of the Thames. Nearly 15,000 wine-lovers attended the event, and this year, the U.S. Vibrant Rioja campaign sent a lucky winner and guest there to celebrate!

Tapas 5Keith D. from Long Beach, New York, was randomly selected from more than 6,600 entrants as the winner of our Tapas Fantasticas Sweepstakes and Snooth.com. Keith and his guest enjoyed live Spanish music and cooking demonstrations from renowned Spanish chef José Pizarro, accompanied by top Rioja wine picks from wine expert Olly Smith. They experienced a spectacular variety of red, white and rosados from some of Rioja's most famous vineyards, along with tapas booths featuring a vibrant collection of London's Spanish restaurants.

Tapas 4 About the event, Keith said, "The trip was amazing! We had a wonderful time and everyone from both Snooth and Rioja were great, I could not have imagined a better experience." Sounds wonderful, right? Want to see Tapas Fantasticas in the U.S.? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Marques de RiscalRioja Alavesa - Gastronomy and Architecture at the Northern Limits

The most northerly of Rioja's three distinct subregions, Rioja Alavesa is located on the southern limit of the Basque territory along the slopes of the Cantabrian Mountain Range. In this dramatically beautiful subregion, Tempranillo vines make up 80% of the area's vineyards. Atlantic influence and chalky clay soils make for full-bodied reds with bright fruit, good acidity and a distinct mineral character.

Rioja Alavesa boasts a wide range of wineries, from rustic to architectural showpieces. Architecturally significant wineries include one of Rioja's oldest wineries (built in 1858), Marqués de Riscal with its stunning Frank Ghery design, as well as the modern masterpiece, Bodegas Baigorri with its vast, minimalist glass cube form and gravity-fed function. Family-run wineries are also common, including the 6th generation Eguren family's Viñedos de Páganos, the 2nd generation Bodegas Ostatu, and the Luis Cañas winery, whose family has been in winemaking for two centuries.

Famous for its wine and food, Rioja Alavesa attracts droves of tourists with fun wine festivals, including one in honor of the annual harvest and, more unusually, a Medieval "Pintxos" (the local word for tapas) contest that offers a unique opportunity to sample the region's exceptional culinary offerings.

header Rioja News

20 WinesRioja in The New York Times
We are excited about The New York Times' July 24th Dining & Wining Section, featuring a wonderful Rioja in "Wine's Sweet Spot is a $20 Bill". Eric Asimov, The Times' wine critic, touts quality wine at a reasonable price, taking readers on his journey in search of the top 20 wines under $20.

Eric states, "I want wine that excites me, that feels so good to drink that one sip urges on the next." Among the top 20 that fit this bill, Eric featured La Rioja Alta Rioja Reserva Viña Alberdi Selección Especial 2005.

Highlights include:
"The Viña Alberdi Reserva is aged before its release, as was once traditional with Rioja Reservas. The result is a seven-year-old wine, delicious now but capable of further aging. Unlike La Rioja Alta's other cuvées, the Alberdi is 100 percent tempranillo and offers a classic profile of mellow fruit framed by vanilla from American oak. Beautifully integrated, lively and lovely."

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Here is just a sampling of our tasting events across the country in August. To view all our upcoming events visit our online calendar.



Rioja Tasting & Pig Roast at Ninety Acres - Peapack, NJ
Saturday, August 18; 12-3pm
$45 per person; RSVP 908.901.9500





Rioja Tasting at Corrados Risorante with The Oconee Cellar - Greensboro, GA
Monday, August 13; 6pm
$25 per person

Rioja Wine Tasting at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits - Orlando, FL
Wednesday, August 15; 6-8pm
$10 at door

Rioja Tasting at Wine Cellars – Smyrna, GA
Saturday, August 18; 2-4pm



In-Store Tasting at K&L Wine Merchants - Hollywood
Thursday, August 9; 5:30-7pm
$5, no reservations

Rioja Week at San Dimas Wine Shop & Tasting Room - San Dimas
Tuesday, August 7 to Sunday, August 12; all day, each day
$17.99 for flight of 6 Riojas

Rioja Saturdays at The Spanish Table - Mill Valley
Saturday, August 18; 2pm to closing

header Rioja Across the U.S.

Ana Fabiano Rioja in Williamsburg
The Colonial Williamsburg resort's popular monthly series, Wine Wit & Wisdom, featured Rioja Brand Ambassador Ana Fabiano, on June 30. Ana and Chef Rhys Lewis of the Williamsburg Lodge led the sold-out room through a spectrum of Riojas which included whites, rosados, centenary wineries and gran reservas. The education-focused tasting kicked off a month of Rioja specials at Williamsburg Lodge and Williamsburg Inn.

header Recipe of the Month

Gazpacho SoupGazpacho
Gazpacho is among Spain's most famous exports, but in most cases, something was lost in translation. While there are many regional variations to this dish, none of them resemble the ubiquitous chilled salsa-like soup which usually passes for gazpacho stateside. If you aren't yet acquainted with gazpacho the way the Spanish envision it, try this recipe - you will be a convert! Pair with a young and fruity red Rioja, or a crisp, un-oaked white from the region. Enjoy the recipe here.

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Wine Buckets Tips for Summer Entertaining
We love these "Four Summer Entertaining Tricks" from Designer Kevin Sharkey. Nothing says summer like a color-coded party drink buckets filled with chilled Riojas!




Snooth 2012 Pick Your Favorite Wine of The Year
Snooth, the world’s largest online wine forum, is giving you a chance to vote for your favorite wine of the year. Until August 22, 2012, cast your vote in Snooth’s 2012 People’s Voice Wine Awards here and enter for a chance to win a gift certificate towards your next wine splurge. Snooth even lets you see which wine is currently in the lead in each category. Click here to find out which wine is currently trending in the “Spanish Red Wine” category and vote for your favorite vino.

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